Fantasy Football Free Agency: Raiders add another weapon with Tyrell Williams
The Raiders passing attack has been overhauled with the additions of Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams at receiver, along with Trent Brown at left tackle. What does this mean for Derek Carr? And is everyone now Fantasy relevant in Oakland?
Are Fantasy players actually excited about the Raiders in 2019?
Along with Antonio Brown and Williams, the Raiders also have Jordy Nelson, who finished 2018 as their No. 1 receiver with 63 catches for 739 yards and three touchdowns on 88 targets. That should tell you how bad this receiving corps was last season, especially after Amari Cooper was traded to Dallas in November.
Now, tight end Jared Cook had a great season in 2018 with 68 catches for 896 yards and six touchdowns on 101 targets, and he's still a free agent as of Wednesday afternoon. We'll see if Oakland is able to bring him back, or what the Raiders are going to do to replace him.
But finding a capable tight end might not be a priority with Brown and Williams now on the roster. We already went in depth on Brown's Fantasy value when he was traded to the Raiders over the weekend, and you.
To recap, I expect Brown to have a slight downgrade in his Fantasy value this season, and he's a low-end No. 1 receiver worth drafting in Round 2. Brown, who will be 31 in July, has six consecutive seasons of at least 101 catches and 1,284 yards, and only once in those six years has he scored fewer than 10 touchdowns (nine in 2017).
In 2018, Brown had 104 catches for 1,297 yards and a career-best 15 touchdowns on 168 targets. He's still good, and hopefully he will once again be great.
Jon Gruden has helped a receiver gain at least 1,000 yards and score six touchdowns in 10 of 12 seasons as a head coach, and it would be shocking if Brown didn't reach those totals. And maybe Williams can get there as well.
Last year with the Chargers, Williams had 41 catches for 653 yards and five touchdowns on 65 targets. He's only had one standout season, which was 2016 when he had 69 catches for 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns on 121 targets.
That season, Keenan Allen suffered a torn ACL in Week 1, and Williams was featured in the offense. But in the past two seasons -- he had 43 catches for 728 yards and four touchdowns on 69 targets in 2017 -- Williams has been part of a crowded receiving corps, including Allen, Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin, Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates, along with the running backs out of the backfield.
Tyrell Williams won't have more targets than Brown, and he will compete with Nelson to be the No. 2 option in Oakland, although we hope that's Williams' role. And as we saw with JuJu Smith-Schuster in Pittsburgh, a secondary receiver can still star opposite Brown. Williams will benefit with Brown drawing double teams, and we'll see if that helps Williams as it did with Smith-Schuster.
I'm only targeting Williams with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues with this move to the Raiders. He improves his Fantasy value from where it was with the Chargers, but not dramatically.
And Nelson is not worth drafting in most leagues, even though he will likely be the slot receiver between Brown and Williams. At best, he'll be a waiver-wire option, but it's hard to count on him at 34 when the season starts.
As for Carr, he's still just a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback, but he could emerge as a streaming option during the season with the new weapons, as well as an upgrade at left tackle. In his first season with Gruden in 2018, Carr set career highs in completion percentage (68.9) and passing yards (4,049), along with 19 touchdowns, 10 interceptions.
This could be Carr's last season with the Raiders because if he struggles, Gruden could be looking for a replacement in 2020. But Gruden also has given Carr plenty of tools to succeed, and we'll see if he takes advantage of it. Carr is worth a gamble with a late-round pick if you're inclined to draft two quarterbacks.
The next move for the Raiders will be fixing their backfield with Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin both free agents. The current depth chart features Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington and Chris Warren as the top options, and it would be a surprise if that didn't change, whether through free agency or the NFL Draft.
We'll get more into that when the Raiders make a transaction. For now, the passing game is looking better in Oakland, and Fantasy players can actually be excited about the aerial attack for the silver and black.
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